dear new and improved met audience with 30% more booing – i love you guys!

by pieces of moments


Dear Metropolitan Opera audience members (opening night, specifically),

I read about your exploits. I read about them in New York Magazine, the New York Times, National Public Radio, and elsewhere. I read, and then applauded you.

Now look, I think change is inevitable, and we must find fresh outlooks. However, I agree with you that fresh outlooks don’t have to mean re-arranging the furniture, it can mean something far more simple that takes far more discipline, like finding the new position in the room from which to observe the continuum. Thus, I salute you for knowing your opera. I salute you for being involved enough to care that you didn’t like what you saw. I salute you for making your disapproval known – blatantly –  within the bounds of the hall rather than confining them to flustered, hushed, mutterings of disgust spilling through the night air and onto the plaza.

Is the concert hall not a forum? Is a concert hall not a metaphysical kitchen? When you eat a meal you paid for and severely dislike, it is considered within form to send it back. If you get a production you paid for and severely dislike, it is considered within form to boo. This is not a unique practice in Europe, particularly Italy. So props to you, New Yorkers-who-feel-free-to-tell-the-person-in-line-at-the-self-check-out-“hey, that one is free, go already”-but-act-all-proper-in-the-concert-hall for breaking with your concert hall politeness and screwing your courage to the sticking place.

I don’t know the last time I read sentences like “I want to see more and more opera, so I can be like, ‘Boo! It’s not supposed to be like that!” or “There’s never booing at the Public, which I regret, because there’s something so vivifying about having the audience respond…My friend said the only time he’s heard booing like that was at a wrestling match.”

Bravo and brava.

I couldn’t have been more proud of ya…well…unless someone had gone all Rite and thrown a punch.

Sincerely and with hopes for more outbursts to come,



Mr. Gelb: I respectfully suggest you get a stain resistant suit for next time…or at least keep a Tide pen handy. Just keepin’ an eye out for your Prada, Sir. You never know when they’ll start launching organic tomatoes with Whole Foods just down the street and all.